Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Fun!

Looking for something fun to do with the kids? It's beginning to feel a lot like Summer, and that means spending tons of time outdoors!   

Gordon's Park Eco Resort on Manitoulin Island is offering a Moms and Tots swim every Saturday and Sunday morning for the month of June. Parents have the option of choosing which day they would like to come.

 The four week program is a "free swim", which means moms (or dads!) can go hang out in the water and help their kids get used to being in the water and having fun.  They are not offering swimming "lessons", but giving parents the opportunity to get toddlers comfortable in the water.
The "Moms and Tots" swim is intended for babies and toddlers (and their parent/s).

Each session is one hour and begins at 11AM. Swim pants/swim diapers are required for all babies/toddlers.

The cost for the four week program for one mom and one tot is $28 + tax or pay as you go for $7.50 + tax. $5 for each additional child.

Come on out and enjoy some time outdoors with the kids...and support your local businesses :)

For more information or to book your spot, contact info@gordonspark.com or call 705-859-2470.

Gordon's Park is located at 18777 Hwy 6 Tehkummah, Ontario, P0P 2C0, Manitoulin Island.

Photo of pool at Gordon's Park taken by: Jeffery Widen
Location photo found: flickr

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Taste of Manitoulin

 Being a city gal, transplanted in the rural North (on an island in the middle of Lake Huron), finding things to do here has been much easier than I had imagined!  Friends in the city said I would never last even three months on the Island, but I'm going on seven years this June!
I am incredibly blessed to be living on a beautiful island with lots to do all the time. There's never a dull moment for me here. With all the community events, groups, local activities, and even just living on a farm (plus teaching ESL and raising a two year old!), there's always a lot to keep me occupied.  Nature, the outdoors, the beaches, lakes, and scenery make the Island a veritable playground for the young and old! Growing your own produce, going fishing (like my Dad and students do), or just going for walks in the woods to look for edible wilds, is great for the body, mind, and soul.

What I am most excited about is this wonderful event coming up in June. The Island is home to many local growers and restaurants. Come and enjoy some fresh local fare and experience Manitoulin Island!
"A Taste of Manitoulin is a 10 Day festival based on local food. There are so many amazing restaurants on the island, and local growers and by June, there is already foodstuffs available - local honey, maple syrup, canned goods, jams, fresh fish, local beef and lamb, wild edibles like leeks and fiddleheads etc, not to mention some of the great restaurants resorts that prepare signature meals and all the amazing Anishnabek cuisine and great coffee shops, tea shops and chocolate shops. We hope to showcase these great foods with local businesses preparing local recipes from local foods for all our visitors. Our food producers will be working with local businesses, art groups, theatre groups, musical groups, museums, restaurants, resorts, and hotels to create different events for everyone to enjoy - from a light house tour of the island to a bluegrass festival. From a moonlight star gazing party to a dinner theatre. From a farm tour to a walk to learn edible wilds or healing plants. From cooking classes to local celebrities. There are so many events being planned! Something different every day for visitors to experience the island in new ways that they have not done before. We look forward to seeing you here for our first annual Taste of Manitoulin Festival." (from A Taste of Manitoulin's Facebook page)

Date: Friday, June 3 at 12:00pm - June 13 at 6:00pm
Place: All over Manitoulin Island 

For more information, check out their website!

My Facelift

My husband always comments on how impatient, restless, antsy, busy and on-the-go I am all the time.  Quite often, he'll come home to see our house completely upturned different. In between teaching, toddler, the farm, freelance gigs, writing reviews, attending meetings, and other things that keep me busy, I try to make our house a homey and comfortable place to live.  This is a difficult feat when you live in an old farm house. There is always tons of work to get done. Always.

Plus, with a two and a half year old, the house never seems to stay tidy for long. Seriously. It's like shoveling snow in a snow storm!

Just like how I get tired of the way things look in our home and need some uplifting and a fresh look/new perspective, I get this way with "the blog" too. This blog has undergone many facelifts over the course of a few years.

I've played around with various templates, have changed them umpteen times, and I've even learned how to HTML almost a decade ago. I've taught myself how to create banners and buttons. I've even taught myself how to number comments in the comments section. After hours (in some cases, days!) of working on template, design, and codes, I have come across a few sites that make things a lot easier for bloggers to do their own blog facelifts!

Yes. All you have to do for some of these new sites is copy, paste, insert, and save in your edit HTML section in your dashboard!

I am excited to say that I think I've found one that I'm going to stick with!

The Pixelista
I am happy to introduce The Pixelista - Custom Blog Design! Say goodbye to generic blog templates and ask The Pixelista to custom design your website! You can now have your own professional yet creative and fun blog/website!

Check out her portfolio to see some of her handiwork! "Like" Pixelista on Facebook and follow Pixelista on Twitter !

* I used one of Pixelista's free templates for Blogger. The thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are my own. 
Friday, May 27, 2011

Korean Beef Bulgogi

When you teach ESL students and host them at your home, knowing some of their traditional dishes sometimes helps with homesickness. Having familiar food "from home" always makes life in a new country a little more comfortable. Of course, the students eat everything we offer and not just food from their country. We have a wide variety of dishes like Shepherd's Pie, lasagna, Chicken Parmesan, Pad Thai, Pho, sushi, etc...

One of our favourite dishes is Korean Beef Bulgogi.

The direct translation of Bulgogi is "fire meat". Basically, the meat is marinated and cooked on an open flame. I cook it in a pan on my stove top.

I thought I'd post the recipe on my blog, since about a dozen people have asked me to e-mail them the recipe!


Beef (sirloin or any other prime cut), thinly sliced
onion, thinly sliced
mushroom, sliced
carrot, Julienned/matchstick cut
green pepper, thinly sliced
garlic, minced
green onion, chopped
salt and black pepper
soy sauce
sesame oil
oyster sauce

* Note: I do not use measurements, but just cook by taste.


In a large bowl, put thinly sliced beef and all ingredients. Mix together and let marinate. Overnight is best, but if you don't have time, even 20 minutes will do.

On high heat, cook all ingredients in a large pan or wok. The trick to very tender meat is high heat and cooking the meat fast.

Once the meat and vegetables are cooked, serve on top of a bed of rice. You can sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top as a garnish if you wish!


"Fresh" and The Taste of Manitoulin

 The Auberge Inn is having a movie night during the Taste of Manitoulin Festival. Watch the movie Fresh and enjoy local desserts.
Synopsis: Fresh celebrates farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inviting our food system. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

Wednesday, June 8 · 7:00pm - 9:00pm

5252 Hwy 551 (Mutchmor Street) Providence Bay, ON

Admission: $12 for movie, desserts and discussion.
Don't miss this premiere event!
For more info: 705.377.4392 or email: info@aubergeinn.ca
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mommies Unite...Or Stab Each Other in the Back?

In my two and a half years as a mom (yes, I'm still a newbie!), I have enjoyed the company and mom advice from fellow moms.  Mom friends that I've known from pre-wedding and pre-baby, moms from my community, family members, and moms from the online world have all been a great resource to draw from.

I'm sure many of us have experienced the wonderful side of having the support from other moms. With this, there is also the not so supportive side at times. You know what I'm talking about. Chastising moms for not breastfeeding, telling parents that they are bad parents for co-sleeping, warning that attachment parenting and baby wearing is doing your child a tremendous disservice and will ruin them for life...These are some of the criticisms a few of my mom friends have been on the receiving end of.

People have very strong opinions about parenting. For the most part, I believe opinions are well-intentioned. I don't agree with certain parenting styles, beliefs, or methods. At the same time, I believe that each parent knows what's best for their own baby and parents know their babies better than anyone else does. What works for some may not work for others.

Fortunately, I haven't experienced too much of this. I am curious though. What do you think? Are fellow moms generally supportive or have you experienced any insensitive comments or remarks? Read this latest blog post on  BornFreeMom.ca and leave a comment there! You can win a BornFree formula dispenser! Even if you don't use formula, some moms have said that the dispenser makes a great snack container too! :)
Monday, May 23, 2011

Bobs and Lolo Connecting the Dots Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway! We are happy to announce that a winner has been chosen via Random.org. Luck #27 is the proud new owner of the Bobs & Lolo prize pack!

Janet said... 27
I follow you on Networked Blogs
Friday, May 20, 2011

Applause TOYS!

I remember the feeling of excitement that rushed through my veins whenever I set foot inside Toys 'R Us when I was a kid. I know. Pretty sad. All the colours, tactile sensations, visual stimulation...guaranteed to grab a kid's attention!

Now that I'm a mom, I have been doing my research on items for Little One. If she does have toys, I want them to be safe (non-toxic paints, high quality, etc), environmentally friendly, and educational. I don't know when I began researching  pregnancy, baby, and toddler products, but now that I'm a mom, I know I am more conscious about my purchases and I like to make informed decisions when choosing products. 

I don't know when or how I found out about ApplauseTOYS, but I am so glad to have found them! I actually have a feeling our paths crossed somehow on Twitter. It might have been at a Melissa & Doug Twitter Party, now that I think of it!

ApplauseTOYS is a Canadian store that carries a very impressive variety of educational toys that kids and parents alike enjoy and love. They carry many of the leading brands like Melissa & Doug, Alex, Boon, etc. ApplauseTOYS also carries a variety of shades of  Piggy Paint natural, eco-friendly nail polish for girls!

I've had the pleasure of communicating with ApplauseTOYS and must say that they are amazing to Tweet with. Also, their customer service is unparalleled!  They are super friendly, helpful, and efficient! We love ApplauseTOYS!

I am taking Little One for her first big trip at the end of this year. In preparation of her big trip, she is the proud new owner of...

Trunki Trixie!

Trunki is the one and only riding luggage for kids made by Melissa & Doug. It's sturdy, child-friendly, fun, and you can pull your tot around the airport on their Trunki if they get tired! How fun is that?

Little One has already been putting her favourite outfits and toys in her Trunki Trixie and she loves being pulled around on it! We've even customized/personalized Trixie by making her into a cat! Little One loves cats and specifically asked for "whikkerzzz"!
Yes, she also has the saddle bag that converts from comfy saddle for tot to sit on (along with a horn to make one's presence known!) to an over the shoulder bag that conveniently stores necessities like crayons, gadgets, and doodads! Little One keeps her flashlight in there at all times! Goofy kid! :)

Stop by ApplauseTOYS and check out all of the amazing products they carry.  I guarantee you'll have fun shopping (be it via their online store or their Muskoka store). If you're in Muskoka/Cottage Country, why not pop in and say hello? Tell them I sent you! Spread the ApplauseTOYS luv!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We've Been Busy! Plus some Meatless Monday Recipes!

Great news!!! Little One passed the Northeast Infant Hearing Program and there are no concerns regarding her hearing! Despite being high risk at birth (for her prematurity), she has been discharged from the program! Yippeeeee! :) BTW, the kid's got super hearing...although she clearly has selective hearing! She seems to be unable to hear the words "Please don't do that" or "Come here, please"!
We've been busy with students, life on the farm, life with the toddler, family, friends, birthday parties, work, work, work, and getting stuff done around the house (which seems to be a never ending affair). Life has been very busy, very full, but also very rewarding and enjoyable. 
 You can't really tell from the photo, but I painted our front entrance a very bright blue. It's more of a turquoise/aqua than blue. It is really bright and quite the adjustment for Hubby. The walls in the front entrance used to be a stone gray colour. Usually, I'm Little Miss Play-It-Safe with the colours on our walls. I tend to stick with creams and neutrals. I just felt something drastic, bright, and cheerful was in order. I hope I made the right decision!

 Little One and her buddy on a lunch date. We checked out a chip stand on our way to "the city" for some spur of the moment shopping.
 I love Lowes because I can spend the entire day there, checking out new ways to beautify my home and add to all the renovations.  A girl can dream, right?  Okay, who am I kidding? I love Lowes because their buggies are so cool that even the toddlers wanted to ride in them and not run around the store like maniacs, touching everything and getting into trouble, causing embarrassment for moms and dads alike. Nah, our toddlers would never do that! ;)

 Our first time at Coldstone Creamery.  We met up with my lovely and talented friend (Ahem! Need a photographer? Look no further) there.  She had mentioned the place to me before, but I had never been there.  One would think that I've been living under a rock or in a cave for all these years, since I had even heard of Coldstone Creamery until this year! All my city friends raved about the place, claiming it to be the ultimate ice cream experience. We were in "the city" and had to check it out. Little One and I shared some key lime ice cream. Little One's friend and her mom shared an Oreo something or other, but Little One's friend preferred the key lime. As you can tell from the above photo, Little One did not want to part with her ice cream. I guess she liked it.

 Little One attended a birthday party on the weekend.  Judging from the balloons, I think these were supposed to be for another kind of party and not a 4 year old's party! Kidding. They were supposed to be giant worms with happy faces on them and not ginormous condoms.
 Our budding photographer, taking photos of everything.
 Wearing her tuxedo dress from my Korean student.  South Koreans have excellent taste in clothes :)

 Near the end of the weekend, Mommy needed some time out...
 The adorable Muskoka chair herb garden was Little One's Mother's Day present for me. I love it!
 After I made my bed, I noticed a little lump on my side of the bed. Look closely on the right side of the bed. See that little bump?
That bump was none other than a sleeping Little One, who had crawled into my bed when I went to take a shower before work. Not sure if you can see her in this photo. She's so tiny!

 If you like pina coladas...

 Apple crumble for Hubby, Little One and the students.
 Vegetarian Curry
3 c diced tomatoes
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 or 2 c okra, cut into bite sized pieces
lots and lots of beans/legumes (I used a combo of lentil, chickpeas, kidney beans, etc)
salt and black pepper
curry, cumin, and a few other spices
a little bit of oil for cooking

Sautee onion and garlic. Add spices. Add veggies and legumes/beans. Cook until everything is tender. Enjoy!

C's Crazy Easy Guacamole
 Guacamole! I used 4 avocados, and the guac was inhaled within minutes! Easiest guacamole recipe ever!

4 avocados
1 tbsp minced garlic
a few splashes of lemon juice
salt and black pepper to taste ( I also used a secret mix of spices, but I'm not sharing)
1 tomato, diced
parsley, chopped (I didn't have cilantro)

Mash avocados in a bowl, add all other ingredients, mix together until smooth, and eat with Tostitos! Yup, it's that easy!
 I also made some yummy wild leek and potato soup with wild leeks picked on our farm. I'll post that recipe soon! Happy Meatless Monday for those who do Meatless Mondays! Yes, I realize that this is Tuesday and I'm only getting around to posting now :)
Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Love Sundays

Our first trip to the beach this year! Can't wait until the weather warms up so we can go swimming!!!

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About the Blog Author

City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

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